Biden Prescribes Covid Vaccine For Federal Staff And Removes The Choice To Get Examined

Nurses remove vaccine doses from a vial while Maryland residents receive their second dose of Moderna coronavirus vaccine at the Cameron Grove Community Center on March 25, 2021 in Bowie, Maryland.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is expected to announce a new requirement for federal employees to receive the coronavirus vaccine Thursday evening, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The executive order also extends to contractors who work with the US government and affects a total of 2.1 million employees.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the decision will be announced during the president’s address at 5 p.m. EST.

Earlier this year, Biden directed all federal employees to prove their coronavirus vaccination status or to undergo a series of strict safety protocols.

Thursday’s order removes the option for rigorous testing, a development that comes as the United States struggles to contain the highly contagious Delta variant.

“This is an American tragedy. People die and will die who don’t have to die, “Biden said during a speech at the White House in July.

“This is not about red and blue states. It’s literally a matter of life and death, ”he said. “With freedom comes responsibility. Your choice to be unvaccinated affects others.”

In July, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would order its health care workers to be vaccinated, making it the first federal agency to issue such a mandate.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough described the new measure as “the best way to protect veterans”.

A month later, the Food and Drug Administration fully approved Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, the first in the US to receive the coveted award.

The mRNA vaccine, marketed as Comirnaty, was on the US market under emergency clearance granted by the FDA in December.

FDA approval was expected to give even more companies, schools, and universities across the country more confidence in accepting vaccine mandates.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 214 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered. Approximately 96 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine.

Overall, 62% of the US population have received at least one dose of a vaccine – either Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson – while 53% are fully vaccinated.

CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report from New York.

This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.

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